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Generative AI Podcasts Are Here. Prepare to Be Bored

by Kate Knibbs, Wired, May 24, 2023

HERE’S THE THING about podcasts: There are too many of them.

More than 4 million, to be precise, according to the database Podcast Index. In the past three days alone, nearly 103,000 individual podcast episodes were published online, a deluge of audio content so voluminous that listeners need never run out of options.

Podcasts have been around for over a decade now and have become an increasingly popular form of entertainment. However, with the rise of generative AI technology, we may be on the cusp of a new era in audio entertainment.

Generative AI technology allows for the creation of synthetic voices that sound almost indistinguishable from human voices. This technology has been used to create everything from virtual assistants to deepfake videos. Now, it’s being used to create podcasts.

Startups like ElevenLabs and WondercraftAI (demo below) have introduced easy-to-use tools that allow anyone to generate an AI voice in minutes. As a result, we’re starting to see more and more generative AI podcasts.

THE FIRST AI-GENERATED podcast to take off cheated a little—it used the cloned voice of the world’s most popular human podcast host. The Joe Rogan AI Experience is a series of simulations of Rogan gabbing with (equally fake) guests like OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and former president Donald Trump.

It was created by a Rogan fan named Hugo. (He declined to give WIRED his full name because he does not want to be professionally associated with the project.)

Hugo created the series because he wanted to showcase what AI voice tools can do. Although he carefully edits the episodes to make them flow for listeners—they can take days or weeks to get right—he doesn’t think the conversations themselves are particularly enthralling, even if they’re reasonably accurate imitations. “Apart from listening to the podcast because of its technological advancement, there’s no point,” Hugo says. “It’s just wasted time.”

However, not everyone is convinced that this new genre of podcast will take off. Some argue that the lack of human emotion in these podcasts makes them boring and unengaging. Others worry about the ethical implications of using synthetic voices without disclosing it to listeners.

Despite these concerns, there’s no denying that generative AI technology has the potential to revolutionize audio entertainment. With its ability to create synthetic voices that sound almost indistinguishable from human voices, it could open up a whole new world of possibilities for podcasters and listeners alike.

Thank you Amy Lilley, at Musically, for sharing this piece of content.

Summary by the New Bing's AI tool.


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